Rats add to their silverware haul

By Andrew Johnston

THE Echuca Moama River Rats have added to their silverware for the 2019 season, with the club's B men team claiming their grade premiership.

Coach Adam Thompson said the win was huge for his side.

"It's obviously something we are really proud of," he said.

"It's special to everyone for different reasons. There are a few of us in this side who have won premierships before, and they never lose the excitement that comes with it.

"But we have a few guys who are under 15s and played in their first senior hockey premiership in this grand final. It's those guys I feel best for, they've never had that experience before, so getting to share it with them is something that we really enjoyed."

B men — Echuca Moama 6 def. Benalla 2

Though Echuca were able to win convincingly they didn't have it all their own way in the early stages of the match.

The minor premiers were unable to get any control of the ball in the first 10 minutes and conceded the first goal.

Echuca then hit back courtesy of a finely executed drag flick from a penalty corner from Troy Kenny.

Again Echuca went behind on the score board via a mid field turnover which caught the defense out of position, from that stage onwards the minor premiers started to gain control converting two goals before half time to lead 3-2 at the break.

With a good discussion and a slight restructure of the positioning of its mid-field group, Echuca dominated the game with Sam Lowndes and Ryan Thomson driving the ball forward time and time again.

Once Nigel Berryman converted his second fine deflection and Regan More blasted one past the goalie, the game was well under control.

Sam Lowndes then topped off his polished performance with a perfectly executed tomahawk to finish the game.

Best player in the grand final as voted for by the umpires went to a deserving Sam Lowndes.

Goals: Troy Kenny, Nigel Berryman (2), Sam Lowndes, Regan More.

B women — Mooroopna 2 def. Echuca Moama 1

There was an exciting feeling in the air for the B grade grand final match between Echuca Moama and Mooroopna on Saturday morning.

Both teams fielded their strongest teams and they did not disappoint in what was an exciting and action filled game.

Mooroopna dominated field position for the first half of the game, claiming a 1-0 lead at the half-time interval.

Echuca Moama’s defence was very strong thanks to Dim Roberts and Erin Thompson.

Early in the second half, Mooroopna put a second goal in the back of the net which put a lot of pressure on the River Rats.

With 15 minutes to go after some great attacking play, Elyse Kerr slotted in the only goal for Echuca Moama.

Unfortunately Mooroopna were able to take a 2-1 victory but both teams showed great skill, fight and determination and put on an excellent opening game of grand final day.

A women — Mooroopna 3 def. Echuca Moama 1

In the grand final, the A grade side were raring to go and determined to win back the premiership they claimed last year.

Despite being the underdogs, the team's spirits remained high.

In the first half Echuca’s defenders Lexie Kell, Wendy McLeod, Teagan Stuchberry, Sally Thompson and goalie Erin Thompson worked hard to fend off the forthcoming strength of the undefeated Mooroopna.

The ball was cleared out of defence with ease by Courtney Thompson and Chloe Kell who worked hard to get the ball into the offensive half.

Despite such efforts, the score at the half time was 2-0 with Mooroopna in the lead.Into the second half, Echuca was eager to remain in high spirits as key players Jenna Park, Abbey Mathers and Beau Starritt worked seamlessly together to weave the ball through opposing play at every opportunity.

Despite suffering another goal score by the opposition, player coverage by Sally Thompson and Mia Oberin ensured that Mooroopna was not given an easy option of play.

Despite Echuca’s continuous effort, Mooroopna came out stronger and in the end claimed the 2019 GVHA premiership with a 3-0 final score.